How to Plant Creeping Vitex


Native to Hawaii, creeping vitex (Vitex rotundifolia) is also known as pohinahina, kolokolo kahakai and beach vitex. Creeping vitex spreads six to eight feet along the ground and grows to the height of six to 24 inches. It grows round, gray-green leaves one to two inches long with one-inch bluish-purple flowers in small clusters at the ends of branches. Creeping vitex is salt, wind and drought tolerant. It thrives in full sunlight and adapts to nearly any soil as long as it drains well. Creeping vitex is a good groundcover or potted plant. It is attractive sprawled over rocks in landscapes.

Step 1

Place the vitex in a large tub of water for 15 minutes while still in its container. This will help keep the soil on the roots and minimize transplant shock.

Step 2

Clear the planting area of weeds and large rocks. Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the container and just as deep.

Step 3

Tip the creeping vitex on its side and roll the container on the ground to help loosen the rootball. Gently shake the plant out of the container.

Step 4

Tease the roots along the edge of the rootball apart with your fingers carefully so you do not damage any roots. Place the creeping vitex in the hole with the roots spread out.

Step 5

Cover the rootball with soil and firm down the soil around the rootball to eliminate air pockets around the roots. Water the creeping vitex thoroughly every day for the first two weeks. Gradually taper off the frequent waterings until you are watering the shrub once a week.

Tips and Warnings

  • Creeping vitex is considered invasive in areas that resemble its natural habitat. Vigorous growth occurs in warm, sandy dunes. This plant produces lots of seeds and runners which help it spread. In the Carolinas, it is threatening to crowd out native beach plants as well as negatively impacting the endangered loggerhead sea turtles by destroying their nesting areas.

Things You'll Need

  • Creeping vitex
  • Water
  • Large tub
  • Shovel


  • Native Hawaiian Plants for Landscaping, Conservation, and Reforestation
  • Invasive Plant Atlas of the MidSouth: Vitex rotundifolia
Keywords: creeping vitex, Vitex rotundifolia, planting beach vitex

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.